Andre Russell’s captaincy career remains perfect while St Lucia Stars still have no idea what a win feels like, they’re now winless for 14 matches – a streak stretching back to 2016 when they were known as the Zouks. For the record, Jamaica Tallawahs recorded their second successive win courtesy a Glenn Phillips half-century and an 81-run stand with Johnson Charles in a 176 chase. They eventually won with two balls to spare, but the win was more comprehensive than that.
Double your curse: Zouks meet Sandpapergate
It’s hard to know which curse possesses a more powerful life force at the moment: the Zouks, who have hexed the St Lucia franchise since they were struck off the letterhead or those impacted by Sandpapergate or David Warner’s string of unlucky and unusual dismissals that started in King City during the Global T20 Canada.
Warner was the victim of one of the poorer lbw decisions of the DRS era on Saturday, struck outside off stump on the gloves missing a reverse sweep. On Wednesday, he was partially done in by lack of footwork, but even still his toe-drag drive against Oshane Thomas would have gone past leg stump on most occasions. Instead the ball caromed off Warner’s feet, then knuckled up into the air with the backspin grazing off the bails. All Warner could do was laugh as he walked off.
Another CPL matchwinning leggie
Russell intervened to break a 54-run stand between Lendl Simmons and Andre Fletcher that followed Warner’s early dismissal, but the major momentum killer in the Stars innings was Adam Zampa, who continued the trend of legspinners producing top notch performances in CPL 2018.
Fletcher was his first victim in the 11th over, aiming for mid-on to a delivery pitching on leg stump when sharp turn produced a leading edge long-off. Two balls later, another leg stump delivery accounted for Mark Chapman, but this one was a googly that beat Mark Chapman’s drive to crash into the stumps. His biggest blow came in the 16th when a quicker ball cramped Kieron Pollard for room on an attempted cut that floated to Ross Taylor at point. The tail wagged for 50 runs in the final five overs but Stars were well short of what they could have achieved before Zampa wiped out their big guns.
Phill your boots
Playing the last place team in the competition is a general invitation to make merry with bat or ball. Tallawahs keeper Phillips accepted the offer to top score with 58 off 40 balls, including a half-dozen sixes. The high number of dot balls was representative of a decent effort across the first five overs of the Powerplay by the Stars bowling unit to keep the run rate manageable, but that unraveled in the sixth over bowled by Qais Ahmad.
It actually started off quite well for Qais, who beat Phillips with a pair of ripping legbreaks on the first two deliveries that had Darren Sammy excited at slip. But Qais started bowling a 14-yard length to match the inevitable extension of Stars winless streak to 14 matches and the result was three straight balls heaved by Phillips over square leg for six, six and four. He eventually brought up his fifty off 34 balls in the 11th over before falling to Obed McCoy, caught uppercutting to third man where Kesrick Williams took a fantastic diving catch.
Simmons may want to find a seat as far away as possible from Pollard on the Stars flight from Jamaica to St Lucia for the start of their home leg. The three worst fielding mistakes of the night all came courtesy Simmons, all three off his captain’s bowling.
The first incident happened in the 14th over when Andre McCarthy drove softly to Simmons who spilled a straightforward chance at cover. The next incident happened in the 18th over when Rovman Powell swung one to long-on where Simmons covered ground running right but shelled another chance.
The Simmons misfieldhat-trick was completed on the final ball of the match. Ross Taylor had just leveled scores on the third ball of the 20th over with a six over midwicket. Taylor drove the next ball straight to Simmons at mid-off. Perhaps aware that it was Simmons doing the fielding, Powell bolted from the non-striker’s end while Taylor stayed put only to see Simmons fumble the ball between his legs.
Taylor belatedly took off as Simmons eventually gathered the ball on the third attempt and still had plenty of time to relay to either Pollard or Sammy, who was running in from short midwicket to field a throw over the stumps. But Simmons fired a panicky throw well wide of the stumps that also shorthopped Sammy and gave him no chance to collect despite Taylor being five yards short. An exasperated Pollard shook his head, praying that his side’s fortunes will change over the next five matches at home in Gros Islet.